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New caselaw - war powers, education of disabled children, missile defense

[JURIST] Doe v. Bush [PDF opinion] (February 24, US District Court for the District of Massachusetts [official website]). US District Judge Joseph Tauro dismissed a suit brought by Democratic members of Congress, US military personnel and members of their families seeking to enjoin the President from launching a military invasion of Iraq on the grounds that Congress has neither declared war nor taken any action that would give the President the power to wage such a war: "[A] federal court may judge the war policies of the political branches only when the actions taken by Congress and those taken by the Executive manifest clear, resolute conflict.... Case law makes clear that Congress does not have the exclusive right to determine whether or not the United States will engage in war. Congressional ratification for the continuation of undeclared war activity may be found even though there has not been a formal declaration of approval. The manner and form of ratification is up to Congress, and the courts have no power to second guess the wisdom or form of such approval. The fact that Congress and the President may appear to be at odds from day to day concerning the conduct of military affairs does not necessarily add up to resolute conflict between the political branches."

McLaughlin v. Holt Public Schools Board of Education [opinion] (February 24, US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals [official website]). The Court reversed a District Court decision overturning an administrative ruling that a disabled child be enrolled in an educational program some distance from her home that school officials believed would be better able to meet her needs as opposed to a school closer to her home, which is what her parents preferred. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, "states and school districts should be afforded some discretion in determining what type of [educational] program is appropriate based on the individual needs of a disabled child."

Also of interest: Schwartz v. TRW and Boeing (February 24, US District Court for the Central District of California [official website]). Judge Ronald Lew dismissed a suit filed under the False Claims act alleging that the defendants had falsified ballistic missile test data and misled the US government about the missile defense system they were building. UCLA law student (and former journalist and Army officer) Phil Carter was in the courtroom and posts this report.

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